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Why Google Wants Apple to DITCH iMessage for RCS

Google wants Apple to use Rich Communication Services (RCS) instead of iMessage. Google has already incorporated the texting service in Android, and you can access it on the Messages app. The RCS also works on a few other third-party messaging apps. 

But is RCS better than MMS, SMS, and iMessage? Google says yes, while Apple says a big NO. So why does Google pressure Apple to change its messaging protocol? Find out below.

Google Criticizes Apple

Google has expressed its anger over Apple continued use of its in-house messaging service. This was after platforms and ecosystems senior vice president, Hiroshi Lockheimer, took a jab at Apple for what he called product promotion through bullying and peer pressure.

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Lockheimer’s tweet was a response to The Wall Street Journal report on how US teens bullied their peers who opted for Android phones. The issue emanates from Apple’s setting of a different color theme for all messages from non-iPhones.

According to the Wall Street Journal report, the exclusivity created on iMessage makes it hard for users to opt for non-Apple ecosystems labeled the walled garden.

Lockheimer criticizes Apple due to its reluctance to support communication between iMessage users and Android users nor release the app on Android.

The court battle with Epic Games revealed the main reason for Apple’s reluctance to do so. Apparently, some of Apple’s senior executives have suggested that launching the app on Android would make it easier for families using iPhones to communicate with other Android members. However, the then marketing chief at Apple disagreed with the idea noting that incorporating iMessage on Android devices would hurt the company.

Well, it’s ironic that much of the dissent came from the marketing department even though Apple doesn’t earn directly from iMessage. However, retaining the app only for Apple ensures that users stay loyal to its ecosystem, which eventually translates to revenue.

On its side, Google-backed Lockheimer’s opinion adding that Apple should think of releasing its app to other OSs.

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Of course, the exclusivity favors Apple in a way; hence you can’t use the iMessage app on Android.

Google Want Apple to Ditch iMessage

According to Lockheimer, Apple sticks to MMS/SMS because it’s the basis for all messaging. The older protocols will work no matter what app the users are using. The RCS feature comes in handy, especially now that instant messaging apps are flocking the market, each with its fan base.

So, Google’s pressure on Apple to support RCS is meant to ensure seamless communication across all users. Lockheimer argues that RCS evolves the older SMS/MMS protocols. Besides, incorporation the new messaging protocol in Android and iOS will enable users to enjoy additional features.

Failure to incorporate RCS means that users will continue to use the older SMS/MMS standards when sending messages between Android phones and iPhones. This way, cross-platform messages will miss out on key features provided by the modern protocols.

Lockheimer asserts that by denying the request to incorporate RCS, Apple is holding back the entire industry and the user experience for Android and iPhone users.

What is RCS?

The Rich Communication Service (RCS) is a modern messaging protocol developed to replace the outdated MMS and SMS protocols. The new protocol will retain features currently enjoyed through iMessage, such as sending via Wi-Fi or cellular data, typing indicators, and reading receipts.

Although Google has unimpressive messaging history, it’s the one leading the RCS campaign. Luckily, major US carriers, including T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon, have subscribed to the revolution.

RCS is available globally, but some Android users may not access it due to different entry barriers. Here’s how you can check if you have RCS available.

  1. Ensure you have “Google’s Messages app.
  2. Launch the app.
  3. Tap the three dots at the top.
  4. Tap “Settings.”
  5. Go to “General.”
  6. Select “Chat features.”

If you see the “Enable chat features” option, your device has RCS. Otherwise, you can’t use the service.


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What’s Next?

Apple is yet to make a public response to all the pressure and criticism. However, Google seems determined to lead tech giants to embrace seamless communication between iPhones and Android devices via the RCS messaging. Obviously, Apple is not ready to join the train as of yet. Even if it does in the future, it’s likely to find other ways to make its service exclusive to entice users to its ecosystem and make it hard to find alternatives. Apparently, Apple’s “walled garden” is proving tough to crack as it has been in the past.

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